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Legends hope to finish with a flourish

sports Updated: Jun 04, 2016 08:38 IST

PARIS: They have been their country’s mainstays between the sticks over many years, but for goalkeepers like Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon, Czech Republic’ s Petr Cech and Spain’s Iker Casillas, Euro 2016 could be the last appearance at an European Championship.

While Cech has said that he will take stock after this year’s competition, Buffon, who has 156 caps for Italy, has asserted that Euro 2016 will “without a doubt” be his last Euro.

Buffon will lead Italy in France as they look to end a 48-year wait for their second European Championship crown.

T he 38- year- old, who was part of the 2006 World Cup winning side, endured the heartbreak of losing to Spain in the final last time around.

For Cech, who is the biggest name in Czech Republic’s line-up, this will be the last chance to inspire his side to major glory.

The Czechs fell to Portugal in the quarterfinals at the last European Championship and in 2008 Turkey ended their hopes at the group stage after Cech conceded two late goals.

“After Euro I’ll sit down at home and decide whether I’ll go on,” the Arsenal goalkeeper said in March.

“I would travel less and play fewer games, which may prolong my club career,” Cech said. “But first of all I believe the upcoming Euro will turn out well for us and we’ll get the best result we can — I will only deal with my future after that.”

Spain’s Iker Casillas, on the other hand, could find his reign as Spain’s No 1 keeper limited by Manchester United keeper David De Gea’s emergence.

“I am aware I do not have five, nor three, nor two years left with Spain. It could be not even one. You must be honest with yourself. I have been here 16 years and maybe I should think it’s not the best for me.

“I don’t know if (retirement) will be this year or next year. Football cannot throw me out, but a moment will come when I must decide,” Casillas said a few months ago.